Macedonia reaches name change deal with Greece

Macedonia reaches name change deal with Greece

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, its official United Nations designation, will change its name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, but will be known colloquially as Northern Macedonia under the accord.

Macedonia and Greece on Tuesday resolved a almost three-decade row by agreeing to call it the Republic of North Macedonia, as Skopje hailed a "historic solution" to a dispute which had blocked its bid to join the European Union and NATO.

Because of the reference to the conqueror, "previous Greek governments have claimed that the Republic of Macedonia- tiny, impoverished, and with virtually no military might - also has territorial designs on its province", NPR adds.

Today the 27-year impasse ended as two nations finally came to a resolution: The former Yugoslav republic is getting a new name, the Republic of North Macedonia.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zeav addresses the media during a news conference in the Government building in Skopje, Macedonia, June 12, 2018.

"I have good news. a while ago we reached an agreement with the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on an issue which has been on our minds for many years", Mr Tsipras told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during a televised meeting.

European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement from Tsipras and Zaev, calling it a "historic" deal.

On Twitter, Zaev said the deal preserved the Macedonian ethnic and cultural identity.

They also urged the Council to endorse opening EU accession talks with Macedonia, which the European Commission recommended in April.


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday's "historic agreement" was "testament to many years of patient diplomacy", and called on the two countries' prime ministers to finalize the deal.

The next step, he said, is for the deal to be signed by the foreign ministries of both countries.

On June 6, thousands of people protested in major cities across Greece against the compromise, while, four days earlier, like numbers of supporters of Macedonia's right-wing opposition VMRO-DPMNE party took to the streets of the capital, Skopje, to protest against a deal.

Zaev said that the definition of the country's language will remain "Macedonian", as Skopje insisted in the talks.

In 1994 Greece imposed an economic embargo on Macedonia and prevented it from using the port at Thessaloniki, Skopje's main trading post.

'I am keeping my fingers crossed, ' he said.

He also said it "secures the historic heritage of ancient Greek Macedonia" and promotes stability and cooperation in the Balkans, confirming Greece's role as pillar of peace, security and growth.

"Today is a hard day for the Republic of Macedonia".

Ever since the Republic of Macedonia declared its independence in 1991, Greece has been fighting the country over its name. But its southern neighbor, Greece, has regions that use the same name, and both countries argued that they had the rightful claim to it.

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